Reduce the burn

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Sunscreen: the skin’s arsenal against the sun.

I can literally melt under the sun sans umbrella. Under the afternoon sun, sometimes I can feel the intense heat so much that I feel I can catch fire. No kidding. The worse I can get is a splitting headache and patches of darkened skin after a day; which brings me to the topic of sunscreen.

Sunscreen is important in shielding harmful UV rays from the sun. This is all the more so with the ozone layer depleting; sun rays are penetrating through at an alarmingly furious rate. What this means is the chances of getting burned from the harmful sun rays are higher. Skin cancer is also another problem that we have to deal with, especially for those who spend long hours under the sun. And we are not helping if we are not covering up to protect ourselves.

Sunscreen can help to protect our skin against UV rays and their many adverse effects. For one, sunscreen is reported to protect the skin’s probability of getting skin cancer; this is important if you spend hours outdoors, under the sun’s penetrating glare. This includes people such as shipyard workers and those who have a penchant for the sunny outdoors such as swimming and kayaking among other sports activities.

If you do spend time under the sun outdoors, it’s advisable to wear sunscreen for it will protect your skin from pigmentation years down the road. You probably could not see much of a difference now the younger you are. But you are in fact setting the stage for 10 or 20 years down the road when these spots and discoloration will emerge; and emerge with a vengeance, for there will be no stopping them then. No covering will do the trick. The only solution at that time would be laser appointments at the skin doctor.

Time under the sun would also age your skin to a great extent, resulting in more wrinkles and saggy skin to appear. Which are why beauty brands advocate wearing sunscreen at all cost and also why our skincare products have loads of SPF to fight against these harmful UV rays.

Wearing a sunscreen should be a daily affair but with so many types of products in the market: there are sprays, lotions, and stick; which should you get in the first place?

The great news is that they offer the similar protection so the decision really depends on your skin type and lifestyle. Whichever you’re getting, it is advisable to get one that offers high protection in both UVA (measured by the number of +) and UVB protection (SPF); say at least SPF 30 and above.

Generally, sun sprays are easier to put on and are perhaps more suited for those who do not have the practice of applying sun screen. Sprays are also ideal for areas that are difficult to apply such as the scalp and ears. Sun sprays seem to be more convenient too. Just spray a thin layer on your palms and then spread it over the body and you’re done.

Sun lotions and creams are thicker and more ideal for those with dryer skin. Creams especially would tend to leave a film of grease on the skin after application for those with oily skin. Thus, the oilier skin types might prefer lotion instead of cream. Also, opt for those types that say “Oil-free” to minimise the incidence of breakouts. In addition, if you tend to sweat a lot, it’s better to get one that is in gel form.

Sun sticks are naturally dryer and might be suited for those with oily skin types better. They are also good for areas that are harder to reach or apply such as the ears.

Also the sensitive skin types may prefer zinc or titanium oxide because they yield lesser skin complication on the skin. Opt for those sun screen products that contain these ingredients.

Regardless of which product you use, be sure to apply it every day and not skimp on the usage. Make sure that every part of your body is protected; this includes the neck, nape, or elbow for that matter if you’re wearing sleeveless tops.

Most of us make the mistake of under-applying sunscreen; we fall into the trap thinking that as long as we’ve applied, we’re safe. The higher the sunscreen protection factor, which ranges from 4 to 100, the more protection from the sun you’d receive. The lower SPF may protect your skin from getting burned but may not help to prevent your skin from cancer.

Apply the sunscreen 10 to 15 minutes before you head out of the house and reapply every two hours if you’re going to spend the day outdoors or if you tend to sweat easily. Also, if you engage in outdoor sports such as swimming, you need to reapply too. For the face and neck, apply approximately a teaspoon of lotion whereas your body needs about a shot glass full for complete protection.

Don’t forget other areas of your skin though. Lips for example should be hydrated and protected too with a lip balm with SPF. Though you may have put on sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your scalp, head, and ears. Or better, bring a brolly along if you’re out for meeting or lunch. It doesn’t hurt to add on to your arsenal from the sun.

Sunscreens that are past their expiry, are needless to say, quite useless. They lose their purpose and benefit, which is to shield your skin from harmful rays. Expired products may even cause your skin to act up, especially if you have sensitive skin. Thus, always check the product before using. For water-resistant sunscreens, check the label to see how long does the resistance last to ensure maximum protection and how frequently you need to reapply.

Sunscreens should be a skin care product that we replace frequently since we use quite a lot of it every day. Although our skincare products and makeup may already contain sunscreen or is sun-proof, they are often not enough to provide enough protection; thus always buy facial sunscreen products and apply them consistently every day.

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